How Yadan, a talented contortionist, grabbed his long-cherished dream of reaching the KOC finals in his 15th appearance | FRIDAY DIGITAL

How Yadan, a talented contortionist, grabbed his long-cherished dream of reaching the KOC finals in his 15th appearance

2022 M-1, Road to KOC: "Yadan" [Part 1

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2016 Honma Kid, Nakajima Kyo, and Long Size Ito of the comedy trio Yadan, known for their ability to make it to the semi-finals of the “King of Conte” for four consecutive years from 2016 to 2019, and in 2020 they won the “Downtown Gaki no Tsukasa ya Aahenden!” (Nippon Television Network Corporation), and in 2020 they won the “Yama-1 Grand Prix,” a comedy contest within the “Downtown Gaki no Tsukashiya Arahente!

On October 8, they will appear on stage for the first time at the King of Conte finals. They laughingly say, “We really don’t have a tailwind,” but what kind of path did they take to seize this golden opportunity? We asked them about their real feelings just before the show, such as what kind of material they felt they could respond to, what they felt at last year’s competition, and which rivals they are aware of at this point in time.

Long Size Ito (left), Honma Kid (middle), and Kyou Nakajima (photo by Sugizo) of the comedy trio “Yadan,” who said, “We can’t make it to the finals next year or later; we’re going for the championship with a single blow.

The finalist said, “Really?” I thought. It was a bit of a lie.

–Congratulations on making it to the finals of the King of Conte! You have been an entrant since the first round in 2008, so it must have been a really long road.

Homma:Thank you very much, I finally made it. I thought I wouldn’t make it, so I was like, “I really made it. We were just talking yesterday that we probably won’t make it to the finals again, so let’s do our best this time (laughs).

Ito: That’s right. That’s the kind of atmosphere we have.

Nakajima: That’s why I’m going to do it with the feeling that I’m going to win the championship with a single strike.

–In the past three years, you have won several competitions, including the “SMA Hope Awards,” a comedy contest to determine the No. 1 comedian belonging to Sony, and the “Yama-1 Grand Prix. I am very happy to be here. Do you feel a tailwind?

Homma:I really don’t have a tailwind (laughs). (Laughs.) Everyone says that about the finalists in the King of Conte. It is obvious that the people around them are changing their views of us. But we were just the same as usual.

Ito: When Baikingu won, I was watching from the same office. He really didn’t lose any points even a few months before he won. He was very popular, and he went on to win the competition. We still goof up (laughs), and I was like, “Oh, I see.

Homma:It was totally funny. Baikingu was really great. Two or three months before the finals, there was a live performance that everyone said, “That was heavy. Whenever we would get a giggle out of them, we would say, “That was a good reaction,” but then Baikingu took a sudden turn and when Mizuki Nishimura was out of breath, the crowd went wild. It was a warriors’ state, wasn’t it?

Nakajima: Moreover, he was not the type of guy who would get a big laugh with the ladies, so he had to be really funny to get laughs. It was amazing to get that many big laughs. All the comedians were thinking, “Baikingu-san is going to win.

Homma:In our case, it was not like that. It really felt like we slipped in. It was like, “It might happen” at the end of the semi-finals.

Ito: We have failed in the semifinals six times so far, so it doesn’t seem realistic. So when I heard that I made it to the finals, I thought, “Really? I felt like it was a lie. It felt a bit like a lie.

Koge’s advice awakened me: “Find your own golden ratio.

— “Barbecue,” which you also performed in the semifinals of this year’s King of Conte, was performed in the 2019 SMA Hope Awards and the 2020 Yama-1 Grand Prix, both of which you won. Do you feel more confident with this story?

Homma:I had a good response. With that story, I thought, “I wonder if this kind of balance is the best fit. I felt that the popularity was a little different from usual. After that, I decided to write a story with that kind of balance.

Ito: The “Hope Awards” at the end of the year is a competition where Sony comedians bring their best stories of the year to compete. But we didn’t have a very good story, so we put in “barbecue” without knowing how it would go over well. Then we somehow ended up winning.

Nakajima: Actually, the first time we showed our work was before the “Hope Awards. The first time was when I auditioned for the “Yama-1 Grand Prix. When I brought my new material to the audition, people took to it. And I ended up winning.

A year or two before that, Kotoge-san saw our material and said, “I don’t think the golden ratio of Yadan’s balance is like the current material. He told us to find our own golden ratio. So we pursued our golden ratio, and as a result, the ratio of lines was “Mr. Ito: 5, Honma: 4, and me: 1. We found our golden ratio at the barbecue.

–On the other hand, you lost in the quarterfinals of the King of Conte in 2020 and 2021, keeping you out of the semifinal group for 2016-2019.

Homma: Now that I think about it, I think the new Corona had a negative impact on my motivation.

ITOH: Especially in 2020, it affected me a lot. Even for the King of Conte, there were only a few guests. When I wondered if I should just do it normally, the response was weak. Then, when I wondered if everyone else was doing the same, the response was weak.

Nakajima: In 2020, I failed with “Barbecue,” but when I think about it now, I think it was simply because I didn’t have the right material. It had already been performed at “Yama-1” and other competitions, so I submitted it as a new material without making any improvements. That was not good, so we brushed up our material over the past year or so.

Homma:To put it another way, last year we did a comedy in which we portrayed a character like the world-famous director Yukio Ninagawa. There was a director who threw a silver ashtray with a bang, and he said, “Go change it because it’s all beat up. Then a sturdy glass ashtray comes out like something out of Tuesday Suspense, and the actor gets scared, saying, “If it’s my turn and he throws it, I’m going to die.

The glass ashtray goes around on the desk, and it’s very funny. However, there were times when the ashtray didn’t spin properly, and I thought, “I don’t want to do anything that is uncertain anymore.

–Homma:That was one of the reasons why we lost in the quarterfinals.

Homma:And then there was Corona. So in 2022, we started a live show where we performed seven new pieces of material every two months. I knew we lost in the quarterfinals last year, so I thought, “I have to change something. For me, that’s where my motivation came back.

Our rivals are “The Best People,” “Cro Cop,” and “Inu.”

–Last year, KUKI KAIDAN won the championship. What did you feel when you saw it?

Homma:I felt that if the script was interesting, they would win. I thought it would be the scariest if they won based on something I didn’t understand, like winning based on character alone. But I was motivated by the fact that the script was good and the characters fit in well with it.

The second story was about the characters, but the first story (about a fire breaking out in an SM club) is a story that we could get a certain amount of laughs out of. So I thought that the funniest one won.

–I was also impressed by the fact that the judging panel was completely changed except for Hitoshi Matsumoto. Do you feel that this is a change from the previous competitions?

Homma:It’s great, I think it’s soooo good. I thought the competition itself was really brushed up.

Nakajima:The comments from the judges were too serious. Especially from the comedian’s side, I thought they said things that really stuck. On the other hand, I felt a bit of pressure, because I thought, “Oh, they are looking at such details.

–The jury remained the same this year. The final members were a wide range of contortionists, mostly in their 30s. Are there any rivals that you do not want to lose to?

Nakajima: I would have to say Okano (Yoichi), who is the best human being. Yoshizumi is good, but I don’t want Okano to win. We have been together in underground live performances for a long time, and we have also competed together in “Bakusho On Air Battle” (NHK Sogo). That’s why I don’t want to lose to him. I also don’t want him to win 10 million yen (laughs). I want to win it and lend it to him.

Homma: I’m Cro Cop. Yoshiyuki Araki is a good friend of mine because we often go to live concerts together. Like me, Araki is also a big fan of martial arts. When they bring in a newcomer for a martial arts program, the winner is always invited. So we are a bit like competitors (laughs). (laugh) I don’t like it if I am taken away from that slot.

Ito: I am “Inu,” and we were together about seven years ago in a program called “4-koma konte Kisho Tensei” (4-frame Contraptions) (Nippon Television Network Corporation). The MC of the show, Daikichi (Hakata), hosted a drinking party after the recording, and we were together there.

After that, we stopped seeing each other, but “Inu” was doing various things, such as DJ KOO (Takashi Ota) in TRF’s imitation unit and imitating Osamu Hayashi’s face (Toru Arima). We had our twists and turns, and in the end we met again at the King of Conte. I want to win because we have a connection with each other.

We can’t make it to the finals next year or later, so we’re going for the championship with a single blow.

–Finally, October 8 is the final of the King of Conte. Please give us your enthusiasm once again.

Ito: As I said at the beginning, I probably won’t make it to the finals after next year, so I have to give it a shot. The people at my office have also told me to do my best because this result will change the future, so I want to leave my mark on the competition.

Homma:I want to win so badly that I am now more afraid than ever (laughs). (Laughs) All I can think about is, “What if I slip up? I don’t want to go back to my normal life the day after the final with no wind at all.

ITOH: It doesn’t matter if there is no wind. I wonder what it would be like to have a bunch of lines fly out of my mouth during the performance.

Homma: Wow, scary! I don’t like that.

Ito: I’m afraid of that kind of thing. I’m afraid of things I don’t usually think about, like, “What if it jumps? I’m afraid of that kind of thing. I don’t want to think about that now.

Homma:But, even people who have won awards have unexpectedly flown. SANDWICHMAN and JARUJARU, for example. The other day, I consulted with I Am Noda of Onigashima, who has experience in the finals, and he said, “We rehearse the day before and do the set as if it were the real thing, so you will be nervous that day, but on the day of the show, it will be a festival. I was relieved to hear that, but when I looked back at the King of Conte DVD, I realized that it was a bit too grueling. But when I looked back at the DVD of King of Contest, I found that I was biting my teeth. Nakajima: And he also said that he was going to make an important end.

Nakajima: And it’s an important closing line.

Homma: So I wondered what was going on (laughs). But he said, “It’s a lot of fun,” so I decided to believe him and enjoy it.

Nakajima: The two of them took me to the finals, so I hope they will continue to do their best on the day of the competition. (To Honma and Ito) Please let me win, please!

(Part 2) Yadan reveals, “The happiest conversation I had with Hitoshi Matsumoto in my life.

  • Interview and text Asahi Suzuki

    Freelance editor/writer. Former band member, former broadcaster. Loves all kinds of entertainment. Published "Shimura Ken Theory" (Asahi Shinbun Publishing) in April 2021. Currently updating his personal website, "Immortal Writing Blues.

  • Photography Sugizo

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